Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

The Lowdown on Splitting the Vote

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When reading about the status of our 50 states this election season, you might experience a “one of these things is not like the other” moment. Rather, two of these things. Instead of having to cast all their votes to one candidate, Maine and Nebraska have the ability to split their electoral votes among candidates. Here’s what happens:

Called the “Congressional District Method”, the way these two states go about distributing their votes involves, you guessed it, their congressional districts (Maine has two, Nebraska has three). Two votes in each state go to the overall popular vote winner, while one each of the others go to the popular vote winner of each congressional district.

While Maine has been on this system for 40 years, it has never split its votes. Nebraska, using this method since 1996, only used their vote-splitting power for the first time in 2008 when Barack Obama took one of its votes from John McCain. While Maine has given all four of its vote to the Democratic candidate for the past five elections, Mitt Romney will attempt to do there what Obama did in Nebraska four years ago.

Opinions differ on whether this system is a good one to hold onto. Some have proposed it be the way the entire country is run, while others disagree with the method as a violation of the concept of “one person, one vote”.

Read more about nationwide debate regarding the elecoral college: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57518599/debate-over-the-electoral-college-revived-again/

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